Thursday, 29 November 2007
Two four inch diameter logs are split in half to form the legs. One end of each leg is reduced to a wedge shape as you can see below.
We marked the shape of the leg tops onto a Wych Elm log with charcoal and then made a series of cuts
then I chiseled out wood with a knife and batton to form the grooves for the legs to go into.
Each leg was then knocked into its groove and if necessary minor adjustments were made to produce a tight fit.
Once all four legs are in, you can cut off the bottoms of the legs to achieve the ideal height.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
I then take out one intestine (anything from 8ft - 20ft in length) and tie one end to a tree or if processing at home, my garden fence.
To the other end I tie a stick and then use the stick to start twisting up the intestine.
The twisting action squeezes the moisture out of the intestine and the twists in the intestine give it added strength. You may have to twist for up to half and hour, but eventually you will feel the intestine pulling your hand as it is tightly wound. This is the time to stop twisting and stretch the intestine slightly and keeping the tension on, tie the end to a tree or fence.
On a dry day, the intestine should air dry in about two hours and can then be taken down, rolled up and stored ready for use. The slight elasticity of the intestine means you can achieve very tight and secure lashings.
Above I have used a length of intestine to secure a flint blade into a split Hazel handle.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Personally I prefer to use the reflector of my torch as it's something I carry with me all the time, and like the base of the drinks can it is also parabolic shaped. Even a small torch reflector from a Maglite torch, works incredibly well and needs no polishing.
Place a small piece of fungus on the end of a thin twig and hold in front of the reflector and adjust to find the focal point and it will ignite instantly.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
When teaching tree identification I give each student some blank sheets of paper and a roll of 48mm wide sticky tape. A we walk they collect a piece of twig about 25 -30mm long with at least one bud on. This is placed on a sheet of paper and completely covered with sticky tape. The sticky tape will preserve the bud while any excess moisture can escape through the back of the paper. Once preserved in this way, they will last a life time. Students are then encouraged to make notes about key identification features and can also add leaves and fruits at different times of the year. Gradually a unique and individual field guide is produced by each student which they may refer to whenever they need it.
The Nature Detectives website here has some fantastic free resources to download to aid identification of leaves, twigs and much more.
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Fold one end of the long piece and both ends of the short piece to secure in place as shown below.
Now bend the long piece at a ninety degree angle to the mouth piece and then curl it around to form the air chamber and you should have a shape rather like a question mark.
Place your thumb over one side of the air chamber to form a seal and your index finger to seal the other side, just leaving the narrow opening immediately after the mouth piece. Ensure the gap at the front of the mouth piece is wider than that at the back (this will take some adjustment and experimentation to get right), then blow!
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Gather five sticks roughly the same length as you’re height. They should be about the same diameter as a pencil at the narrow end. Remove any side branches and then the bark.Once all five are completed they should be tied together about two fingers width from the end (I use a constrictor knot).
Tie the thick ends of the sticks (the back of the snowshoe) together, leaving a space the width of your finger between each (I tied four overhand knots to act as spacers). Now secure another block of wood where your heel rests on the shoe (using the same method described above), which should be about two fingers in front of the pivot point.
Now using either a piece of ribbon, cord or elastic lash around the shoe and over your toes, tying the two ends on top of your toes as shown below.After tying the knot on top of the toes, bring the two ends around the back of the heel and tie off using a reef knot (this knot is obscured by the bottom of my trouser leg in the picture below). This will allow your foot to pivot on the shoe as you walk, but still keep the snowshoe on.
The snowshoe is easier to use if the tip of the shoe curves up at the end, so tie a cord between the tip and the block of wood and leave until the wood has dried out.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Basically you put some water into a condom and tie the end. Then you manipulate the condom to form a lens shape.
Once you get the shape correct the result is instant. Personally I favour Crampball Fungus for this method of firelighting.
I've just found this video which demonstrates the method rather well.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Personally I found this quite difficult and certainly much more work than the other type of woven baskets I have made.
Monday, 12 November 2007
working with schools in British Columbia, teaching children of various ages about nature and basic survival skills.
We taught them shelter building, navigation, plant identification and their uses and a variety of native crafts.
Saturday, 10 November 2007
After the first frosts of the autumn, the moss produces clusters of yellow spores which you can see above. These spore clusters are collected and after being left near the fire overnight, they open and release large amounts of spores.
When the spore powder is poured onto a naked flame, they produce a very explosive effect as you can see here......
In the past these spores were used my magicians as part of their act when on stage.
More information about Club Moss and it's uses can be found here
The native people of North America and Alaska used to (and I believe still do) dry and burn this fungus and use the resulting ash as an alternative to chewing tobacco.
Monday, 5 November 2007
Finally completed the trap today (Thursday 8th) and just need to test it now.
The cone was the most difficult part to construct.
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Other uses for the leaves include what were traditionally children's toys made by the native people of North America.
and Cattail dolls
I used Birch bark to make the buckets for the "Milk Maid" at the back of this picture.
Here is a seasonal Cattail doll; a Christmas angel